Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Written Evidence

Letter from the Chairman of the Committee to the Office of the London Representative, Turkish Republic Of Northern Cyprus

  Thank you for your letter of 21 October.

  The Committee decided at an early stage in its Cyprus inquiry that it would not hear oral evidence from representatives of the two communities on the island, or from representatives of governments. Instead, the Committee is relying on the written evidence it receives and on the forthcoming visit to Cyprus by a group of its Members to inform it of the views of all parties to the Cyprus issue. I can assure you that, with more than 140 pieces of written evidence so far received, no point of view has gone unrepresented. I am also happy to confirm that, when a group of colleagues from the Committee visits Cyprus next month, it will give equal time to hearing both the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot viewpoints.

  The Committee has heard oral evidence from Dr Savvides, who as you know is a research fellow at an Athens-based institute, ELIAMEP. The Committee will also be hearing oral evidence from O­zdem Sanberk, who will be well-known to you as Director of TESEV. We selected each of these witnesses because we have met them before, and we know them to be rigorously academic in their approach to the Cyprus question. Having heard Dr Savvides' evidence last Tuesday, I am reassured that we made the right choice.

  For the avoidance of doubt, I repeat that the Committee does not regard any of the witnesses whom it has invited to appear before it as a representative of either of the main communities on Cyprus. Neither has the Committee selected any of its witnesses on the basis of their place of birth. Any suggestion that the Committee's inquiry is "one-sided" or "unsound" is totally without foundation. I can give you my personal guarantee that the inquiry is being and will continue to be conducted with scrupulous impartiality and objectivity.

Rt Hon Donald Anderson MP


25 October 2004

Letter to the Clerk of the Committee from the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, President's Office

  Christopher Brewin was kind enough to send me a copy of his "Memo for Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Cyprus" of 18 October 2004, following his meeting with the Foreign Affairs Committee on 19 October 2004.

  In this memo, Mr Brewin, whom I know personally, refers to one of the proposals I made in my submission to the Foreign Affairs Committee (I had sent him a copy) and states that my ". . . thesis that the EU should treat Turkish Cyprus as a polity is a non-starter". Mr Brewin argues that this is because ". . . the EU cannot recognise the TRNC as a self-determining sovereign state, legally competent to choose to become part of Turkey".

  I believe the reference of Mr Brewin to this very important point in my submission entitles me to further clarify my proposal, in order to avoid any misconception on the part of the Foreign Affairs Committee.

  What I proposed in my submission is completely in line with the word, spirit and vision of the Annan Plan. The Annan Plan, based on the 1959-60 Treaties on Cyprus and the facts on the ground, confirms in its Main Articles that the relationship of the two sides ". . . is not one of majority and minority but of political equality where neither side may claim authority or jurisdiction over the other" (para iii). As I have explained in my submission, since the Greek Cypriot side and/or its government do not have the right to exercise authority or jurisdiction, both in de-jure and de-facto terms, over the Turkish Cypriot people in North Cyprus, then we have to find a formula to provide for the equal treatment of the Turkish Cypriot side without subordinating it, directly or indirectly, to the Greek Cypriot polity.

  For the purpose of clarification, let me labour the subject of equality a little further. The sovereignty of the historical 1960 partnership Republic of Cyprus was clearly defined and restricted by international law (London and Zurich Agreements of 1959) in order to protect the more vulnerable Turkish Cypriot partner. The illegal amendments of the constitution and the violations of the constitutional and civil rights of the Turkish Cypriot people during the early 1960s therefore surpassed the legal scope of Cyprus' sovereignty (ultra vires acts). Furthermore, the institutions of the 1960 partnership Republic of Cyprus were incapable of functioning as of December 1963 as originally designed in the 1960 Constitution. From December 1963 on, what pretended to be the "Republic of Cyprus" in fact turned into a de-facto Greek Cypriot regime. If this Greek Cypriot regime is entitled to statehood, recognition and sovereignty, in spite of all its illegal deeds, the Turkish Cypriot side, as a political equal, is equally entitled, if not more, to the same things in order to maintain and safeguard its political equality and parity. In spite of this, the Turkish Cypriot Government has chosen to put this "necessity" aside at this time and instead direct its efforts at achieving a new bi-zonal partnership settlement as two equal political bodies in Cyprus.

  Let me also point out in this connection that, strictly speaking, both the so-called "Republic of Cyprus" and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) are illegitimate to the same degree regarding the provisions of the Treaties of 1959, as well as the constitution of the 1960 partnership Republic of Cyprus. Furthermore, the resolutions of the UN Security Council 541/1983 and 550/1984 not to recognise the TRNC as a state are merely political advice and not legally binding. Moreover, these resolutions overlook the fact that illegal acts were first committed by the Greek Cypriot side and it was the failure to serve justice that necessitated the establishment of the TRNC in 1983, 20 years after the violent hijacking of the 1960 partnership state by the Greek Cypriot partner, so that the Turkish Cypriot people would not be left stateless.

  Today, 40 years on, the Turkish Cypriot people are still subjected to Greek Cypriot- inspired embargos and international isolation, in spite of the fact that they cannot be subordinated to Greek Cypriot authority and the fact that they have accepted the Secretary-General's new bi-zonal partnership Plan. This injustice has to end, and to end it, we need to break the practices and mentality of the past. Therefore, we have to find new forward-looking remedies that will go beyond the limits of the "black and white" approach that has imprisoned us for so long and explore the grey area (the area between full political recognition of the TRNC on the one extreme, and the denial of the existence of the Turkish Cypriot side as a politically equal party on the other extreme). We should not tolerate the by now "stale" argument that anything we do in the "grey area" would mean "recognition", to be used as an excuse to maintain the unjust and unsustainable state of affairs on the island.

  Recalling also the statement of Prime-Minister Tony Blair on 18 May 2004 that "We must act now to end the isolation of Northern Cyprus", the non-recognition of the TRNC should prevent neither member states nor EU institutions from establishing direct contacts with appropriate Turkish Cypriot authorities. In the case of Taiwan, for example, the European Union has developed modalities through contacts at the "administrative level" to facilitate trade and economic relations, although recognition has not been extended to Taiwan. Similarly, although the US does not recognise Taiwan, it has allowed for the complete removal of the economic and political isolation on it.

  I cannot stop myself from making another observation regarding the submission of Mr Brewin. I find his "quick fix" proposal of asking the Greek Cypriot government to authorise the operation of Turkish Cypriot-controlled ports, as well as his call for the authorisation of the Commission to act as an accessory on its behalf, as humiliating and counterproductive. This proposal in fact amounts to the subordination of the Turkish Cypriot people to the authority of the Greek Cypriot government and therefore contradicts the 1959-1960 Treaties as well as the underlying principles of the Annan Plan. The realisation of a new bi-zonal partnership based on the equality of the two sides can only be achieved by the equal empowerment and treatment of both parties, and not by subordinating one party to the other.

  My final observation is regarding the point raised by Mr Brewin that if the EU recognised the TRNC as a self-determining sovereign state, it would be legally competent to choose to become part of Turkey. While this is not the objective of the Turkish Cypriot side (or of Turkey), it has to be understood that the insistence of the Turkish Cypriot side on their treatment as an equal party is a Treaty and constitutional right and is also aimed at preparing the ground, in a forward-looking way, for a possible future partnership between the two equal sides on the island. Such a partnership cannot be realised if we allow the political and economic gap between the two sides to grow and to become unbridgeable. This is why the ending of the isolation of the Turkish Cypriot side and its political empowerment as an equal are important.

  My appeal to the Foreign Affairs Committee is to resist the temptation of acting on surface symptoms and on propaganda information and instead to focus on a better understanding of the underlying causes of the conflict and the preparation of the ground (for example, levelling of the playing field) for a new sustainable bi-zonal partnership settlement. This is important for stability in the island and in the region, and is in fact a global opportunity to disprove the dogma called "clash of civilisations".

M Ergu­n Olgun


21 October 2004


Letter to the Clerk of the Committee from the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, President's Office

  Further to my submission of 21 October 2004 I would appreciate it if you could bring the following additional points to the attention of the FAC regarding the claim of Mr Christopher Brewin in his Memo of 18 October 2004 that ". . . the EU cannot recognise the TRNC as a self-determining sovereign state, legally competent to choose to become part of Turkey". I hope these additional points will help in the better evaluation of the validity of this claim:

  The 1960 Treaty of Guarantee (to which Gt Britain is a party) prohibits ". . . any activity aimed at promoting, directly or indirectly, either union of Cyprus with any other State or partition of the Island".

  The Turkish Cypriot side and Turkey have strongly supported, and continue to support, the continuation of this prohibition for any form of solution, thus ruling out the possibility of the whole or part of the Island becoming part of Turkey.

  Putting this point aside, if the argument of Mr Brewin is valid for the recognition of the TRNC as a self-determining sovereign state, then the argument is equally valid for the recognition of a wholly Greek Cypriot government (the hijacked 1960 Republic of Cyprus) since this would make the Greek Cypriot side legally competent to choose to become part of Greece in contravention to the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee.

  The Turkish Cypriot sides' desire for parity and the equal treatment of their state is to redress the existing imbalance between the two sides in order to facilitate a new partnership settlement between the two equal parties. It is the present unequal treatment of the two sides which is blocking the way for the establishment of a new bi-zonal partnership because, thanks to the indifference of the international community, the Greek Cypriot preoccupation has steadily shifted to the retention of their unjustly acquired monopoly of legitimacy instead of partnership and power-sharing.

  The Turkish Cypriot side has repeatedly expressed to the United Nations that it is even prepared to accept a package in which the parity of the Turkish Cypriot state, with the Greek Cypriot state, is recognised as part of the bi-zonal partnership settlement package.

  In conclusion, I would like to refer to paragraph 93 of the Report of the Secretary-General on his mission of good offices in Cyprus of 28 May 2004 where he says that to achieve the goal of unification "…and for that purpose and not for the purpose of affording recognition or assisting secession, I would hope they (members of the Security Council) can give a strong lead to all States to cooperate both bilaterally and in international bodies to eliminate unnecessary restrictions and barriers that have the effect of isolating the Turkish Cypriots and impeding their development, deeming such a move as consistent with Security Council Resolutions 541 (1983) and 550 (1984)".

M Ergu­n Olgun


27 October 2004

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